NTSB Identification: MIA08LA164
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 13, 2008 in Arcaida, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/11/2010
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415-C, registration: N94339
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A witness observed the airplane depart toward the west from the 1,200-foot-long grass strip. During the takeoff the witness observed the airplane encounter what he believed to be a downdraft, causing it to lose altitude. The airplane seemed to reestablish the climb when it impacted an oak tree that was located about 50 feet past and 20 feet left of the runway. The airplane impacted several trees before impacting the ground inverted. The wreckage examination revealed no abnormalities or discrepancies that would have prevented the airplane and its systems from normal flight operations. The nearest weather reporting station was located 23 miles southwest from the accident location. The recorded temperature during the time of the accident was 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) and the wind was reported from 250 degrees at 13 knots. The autopsy report noted evidence of moderate to severe coronary artery disease and a prior heart attack. The toxicology results were consistent with the recent use of an anti-acid medication, available over the counter. The medication was unlikely to have adversely affected the pilot’s performance. Postmortem toxicology could not determine whether the pilot’s heart disease or the symptoms for which he was taking medication were related to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to maintain a proper climb rate after takeoff.

Full narrative available

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